NEW YORK, Aug 12 (Reuters) - Actress Lea Michele, in her first public appearance since the death of her boyfriend and cast mate Cory Monteith, dedicated her Teen Choice Award on Sunday in Los Angeles to the actor who died of an accidental drug and alcohol overdose last month.
With tears in her eyes and her hand on her chest, Michele, 26, thanked fans for the best actress in a TV comedy award for her role as Rachel Berry in the musical series "Glee" and for their support in dealing with Monteith's death.
"He was very special to me and also to the world, and we were very lucky to witness his incredible talent, his handsome smile and his beautiful, beautiful heart," she told the audience at the Gibson Amphitheatre.
Monteith, 31, was found dead in a Vancouver hotel room on July 13. The actor, who played high school athlete turned glee club singer Finn Hudson in the Fox musical comedy, had struggled with substance abuse and was in rehab in April.
His death forced Fox to push back the start of the show's fifth season, which will address Monteith's death, by a week to Sept. 26.
Earlier in the Teen Choice Awards other members of the "Glee" cast accepted the award for best TV comedy show. (Reporting by Patricia Reaney; Editing by Eric Kelsey and Cynthia Osterman)